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BMW Z4: Buying guide and review (2003-2008)

BMW Z4: Buying guide and review (2003-2008) Classic and Performance Car
BMW Z4 3.0 BMW Z4 3.0 BMW Z4 3.0 BMW Z4 3.0 Coupe BMW Z4 3.0 Coupe
Launched in 2003, the BMW Z4 roadster was the long-awaited replacement for the extremely successful Z3 - BMW’s first foray into the mass-market two-seater sportscar segment. Controversial Chris Bangle-era styling, electromechanical power-steering and the adoption of run flat tyres met with some criticism at launch, but the well balanced handling and great range of engines ensured that the Z4 carried on its predecessors success story.

With its focus on handling and driving dynamics, the Z4 earned itself a reputation as a great drivers’ car, the M versions in particular are already becoming modern collectors cars. 
Which one to buy?
There are a large number of engine variations to choose from, however the basic running costs for the non-M six-cylinder models are quite similar, making the larger capacity variants – which provide a decent hike in power over the 2.2-litre cars – highly desirable. The 3.0-litre model in particular is a great compromise between the full-fat M variants and the lower models in the range, and was also the only non-M car that was made available in Coupe form. 

The Coupe, introduced in 2006, is a significantly rarer car than the soft-top. Thanks to the much more rigid body structure handling is even better, while there’s a slightly more usable luggage space in the back too. Ride quality on standard suspension is very firm, meaning that cars with sports suspension and big wheels can be surprisingly uncomfortable on anything other than smooth road surfaces. 

The base 2-litre four-cylinder cars are eager, and not much slower than the 2.2-litre models. They also use much less fuel and cost less to maintain, so if outright speed is not a priority then these models are a great compromise. 

At the other end of the scale, the M powered Z4 is a different proposition altogether. Using the 343bhp engine from the heavier E46 M3, and with a full M-spec suspension system, the Z4 M coupe and roadster models took the fight straight to Porsche and Mercedes. The award-winning engine is one of the all-time great naturally aspirated units, providing a raw edged driving experience that will leave you breathless. Running costs are relatively reasonable for a car of this type, although certain M specific components can be pricey - especially if sourced from BMW.

Gearbox options were five-speed manuals and automatics on the early cars, with the facelift introducing six-speed variants. The Sequential Manual Gearbox was made available on a limited number of the 3.0-litre cars and while fun when pressing on, they can be jerky in town driving.

There’s a huge choice whitch means that you can afford to be picky, and it’s absolutely worth driving a few different models. The driving experience between a base spec four-pot Z4 and a sporty three-litre model is surprisingly different.
Performance and specs
Engine 2996cc 24valve DOHC I6 
Power 261bhp @ 6600 rpm 
Torque 232lb ft @ 2750rpm
Top speed 155mph (limited)
0-62mph 5.7 seconds 
Fuel consumption 32.8mpg 
Gearbox Six-speed manual
Insurance group 44
Dimensions and weight
Wheelbase 2495mm
Length 4090mm
Width 1780mm
Height 1300mm
Weight 1385kg
Common problems

• Parts are readily available and many maintenance items can be sourced from specialists.

• Suspension systems are generally reliable, however the springs are prone to snapping especially at the rear. Front control arm bushes tend to wear out and can be noticed by loose-feeling steering and creaking noises. Strut braces on the rear can break at the weld seams and will require expensive repairs. 

• Electrical systems are reliable, however some owners have complained of erratic wipers requiring motor replacements, which can be costly. Test all the buttons and switches inside the vehicle in case anything is amiss. 

• The interior is well built and there are no specific issues however the seats do rub against the body when pushed right back and can cause irritating squeaks when driving. 

• Engines are long lasting and should be smooth and free revving, especially the six-cylinder models. Power steering pumps can fail on early cars and the cooling system needs to be serviced regularly. The water pump can fail if the correct coolant mixture is not adhered to. 

• On M cars, check that the 1200-mile run in service was done, as failure to do so has been known to result in excessive engine wear. Crankcase ventilation oil separators can clog up and cause damage to the engine, but replacement parts are not unduly pricey.

• On convertible cars check the roof mechanism for any signs of slow operation or creasing in the roof lining. There should be no water ingress so any leaks may indicate an issue with the alignment of the roof or the side window fitment.
Model History 

2003: BMW Z4 launched in 170bhp 2.2, 190bhp 2.5 and 228bhp 3.0 litre versions. Five-speed manual and automatic transmission choices available, with SMG gearbox option available on 2.5 and 3.0 litre cars
2005: 215bhp 2.5si and 261bhp 3.0si engines replace older units resulting in lower emissions and higher power outputs. Navigation and heated seats introduced as optional extras, and SMG gearbox now only available on 3.0-litre cars. 2.2i six-cylinder entry level option replaced with 150bhp 2.0l four-cylinder engine.
2006: Mid-life facelift with new colours, wheel choices and minor changes to lighting. Six-speed manual and automatic gearboxes now available. Z4 Coupe introduced with 3.0-litre 261bhp engine,as wells as M Coupe with 343bhp M division engine.
2008: Final E85/86 Z4 rolls off the line
Owners clubs, forums and websites
• www.bmwcarclubgb.uk
• z4-forum.com
Summary and prices

Prices start at £3000-£4000 for the earliest cars, and as long as they have solid service and maintenance histories they can carry on forever, so don’t be put off by higher mileages. £6000-£8000 will get you one of the later cars. M Coupes and M Roadsters range between £12,000-£25,000 with condition and mileage being the biggest influencing factors on these cars.
The first Z4 has proven to be a great second-hand buy with reasonable running costs and styling that has improved with age. There are a lot of cars out there with a spec level and price to suit most people. It’s also a great way of experiencing the last of the old school BMWs, built before the motoring industry’s move to turbocharging and flappy paddles, so buy one now and enjoy it while you still can.
Words: John Tallodi
BMW Z4 3.0 BMW Z4 3.0 BMW Z4 3.0 BMW Z4 3.0 Coupe BMW Z4 3.0 Coupe
Last updated: 4th Dec 2015
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BMW Z4 cars for sale

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0 27495 GBP
  • BMW Z4

    £16,995 £16,995

    Variant name:Roadster ,Variant: 3.0i sDrive35i BMW Z4 35i sDrive 2dr DCT

    • Year: 2009
    • Mileage: 41729 mi
    • Engine size: 3
    For sale
    Dick Lovett-BMW - Bristol
    0117 905 0000 VIEW CONTACT NUMBER
  • BMW Z4 3.0SI Coupe


    Vehicle Description Engine Capacity: 2996cc Transmission: Manual Mileage: 64 752 Body Style: Coupe 0 to 60: 5.70secs Top Speed: 155Mph BHP: 262 In stock now is this lovely BMW Z4 3.0SI Coupe. Finished in Monaco Blue with beige leather the car was first registered in September 2006 and has covered 64752 miles from new. Options specified, according to a spec print off, are as follows: Multifunction steering wheel Model designation delete Velour floor mats Auto dipping mirrors Electric memory seats Headlight washers Parking sensors Rain sensitive wipers Climate control Cruise control Bluetooth handsfree BMW Business CD radio with 6CD changer M Sports Suspension M leather steering wheel M Sports seats M Double Spoke alloy wheels A nice service history is present comprising official BMW dealers and specialists.

    • Year: 2006
    • Mileage: 2017 mi
    For sale
  • BMW Z4 3.0i SE 2005

    £5,995 £5,995

    2005/05 BMW Z4 3.0i SE Roadster;Automatic;Petrol;106,000 miles;Full Service History;Black Metallic Bodywork;Coral Red Heated Leather Upholstery;Electric Memory Seat Adjustment;Rain Sensors;Automatic Headlight Activation;Xenon Headlights;M-Sport Suspension Pack;;Even at 12 years old, this car still has tremendous desirability due to it's looks, handling and the sensational 3.0 litre six cylinder powerplant. Grab a future classic while you can!;;GBP 5,995.00;

    • Mileage: 106000 mi
    For sale
  • BMW Z4 2.0 SPORT ROADSTER 2007

    £5,299 £5,299

    THIS CAR AT OUR PLYMPTON SITE PLEASE RING FIRST, Service history, Air-Conditioning (Automatic), Computer (Driver Information System), Alloy Wheels (18in), Electric Windows (Front/Rear), Alarm, Upholstery Cloth/Leather, In Car Entertainment (Radio/CD/MP3). 2 seats, Grey, PART EXCHANGE WELCOME.UP TO 2 YEARS WARRANTY AVAILABLE.CREDIT AND DEBIT CARDS TAKEN, FINANCE AVAILABLE SUBJECT TO STATUS APPLY ON WEBSITE OR GIVE US A CALL, PLEASE RING BEFORE YOUR JOURNEY THANKS, Experian auto check clear, GBP 5,299 p/x poss ;

    • Mileage: 74000 mi
    For sale
  • BMW Z Series 1997

    £3,500 £3,500

    Leather interior, excellent condition inside and out, 1years Mot, drives like new. Kept in garage. Owned for the last 2 years.

    • Mileage: 66000 mi
    • Engine size: 1895
    For sale
  • BMW Z4 Z4 M COUPE 2008

    £23,995 £23,995

    2008 08 BMW Z4M 3.2 COUPE 55,000 MILES FBMW S/HISTORY ;;A beautiful well maintained late registered example finished in interlargos blue met .Maintained by BMW and always been under approved warranty so therefore comes with a full bmw main-dealer service history. Last sold by Sytner Bmw as an approved used in 2016 , (Inspection 2 service just been done 12 .02 2017 by Sytner Bmw )This is the major service that includes 6 X plugs , gearbox flush and oil change, brake fluid , diff flush and oil change, engine oil and filter , Replace air and pollen filters , and check and adjust valve gear ( invoice available );;Interlargos blue met ;55700 miles F.S.H;6 speed manual gearbox 18 inch BMW M alloys ;Rear sun protection factory glass ;Black oregan leather m tec sports seats;Extended leather pack including door cards.;Reverse park assist ;Carbon affect leather dash ;Cup holders ;Electric memory seats ;BMW business hi fi with Bluetooth ;Auto xenon headlights;;FULL MAIN DEALER SERVICE HISTORY @;;Pdi and handover Scotthall Bmw;1262 Running in service Scotthall Bmw ;12771. oil service / micro filter Scotthall Bmw ;24463 inspection 1 /brake fluid / Cooper Bmw;35548 inspection oil service and health check Sytner Bmw ;43838 oil service / brake fluid/ micro filter Sytner. Bmw ;55083 inspection 11 / brake fluid /filters Sytner. Bmw; ;Body work and interior are lovely alloys tyres and brakes are all excellent. It drives perfectly without fault ( one of the nicest I have driven );;A genuine modern classic getting hard to find in this conditions. With a full main dealer service history these cars still have a long way to go before they reach there full potential so would make an ideal useable investment .;;hpi clear with full book pack/ tool kit both keys . ;Comes with 6 months comprehensive 5 star warranty .;GBP 23,995 ( px and down trades on request) ;;Delivery available to your door nationwide.;Viewing 7 days a week by appointment only please;Similar cars always wanted for stock please go to web site for more details on selling your car

    • Mileage: 55700 mi
    • Engine size: 3.246
    For sale
  • BMW Z4 2.5 Sport 2dr 2008

    £6,493 £6,493

    RAC INSPECTED and APPROVED. Top Brand Cars are pleased to offer this stunning BMW Z4, It comes in gloss, Black, with heated black leather interior and full service history, Just some of the high spec includes, Electric roof, Electric Windows, Remote central locking alarm, Climate controlled air con, Leather multi function steering wheel, Upgraded alloys, For full spec feel free to contact our sales team. Viewing by appointment only. Part exchange welcome. Finance available. Debit and credit cards taken

    • Mileage: 60000 mi
    • Engine size: 2.497
    For sale
  • BMW Z4 Series 2005 CONVERTIBLE

    £5,495 £5,495


    • Mileage: 49356 mi
    • Engine size: 1995
    For sale
  • BMW Z4

    £5,995 £5,995

    Great Specification Z4 in Black Sapphire Metallic with Black Leather and Black Alloys. Built with £3,290 worth of factory fitted optional extras including : Oregon Leather Interior with Extended Leather £880, M Sports Seats £475, Metallic paint £375, CD changer for 6 CDs £280, Park Distance Control £275, M Sports Suspension £240, Heated front seats £230, Wind deflector £160, Auto-Dimming Interior Mirror £145, Multi-Function Steering Wheel £105, Rain sensor £75, Storage compartment package £50, Alloy Wheels Composite-star-spoke Design 108. Full Service History with Services recorded at 14k, 26k, 38k, 43k, 54k & 62k. MOT March 2018. Car is in excellent condition, runs and drives beautifully. Call us to discuss delivery anywhere in the UK on this car. Have a look at our testimonials on our website to read more about us and the services we can offer our clients. Video walk around of this car available on our website and YouTube. 'Like' our page on Facebook for stock updates. All our vehicles HPI Checked. Car Care Plan Warranties Available for 3,6,12 or 24 Months. UK Nationwide Delivery Available. Finance Available - We have a range of lenders for all circumstances - CHALLENGE US TO BEAT YOUR FINANCE QUOTES. PX Considered. Tracker Fitting Available. Ceramic Paint Protection Available. View our website - WWW.GEORGEKINGSLEY.CO.UK - Prestige & Performance Specialist

    • Mileage: 68497 mi
    • Engine size: 1995
    For sale
  • Bmw Z4

    £15,500 £15,500

    5 Year/50K BMW Service Inclusive Pack, BMW MOT Protect Pack, Paddle Shift, Rain-Sensing Wipers, Xenon Headlamps, Headlamp Jetwash, Electric retractable hard top, Full Leather, Multi-function Steering Wheel, Air Conditioning, Push Button Start, USB Interface, Auto Lighting, Brake Assist, MP3 Player, Auxiliary In, Isofix, Radio, Stereo, Alarm, Immobiliser, Adjustable Steering Column, Power Steering, Stability Control, Traction Control, Trip Computer, Electric Windows, Electric Mirrors, Colour Coded Body, Anti-Theft System, Central Locking, Remote Alarm, Remote Central Locking, Head Restraints, Height Adjustable Seat, Alloy wheels Click on this car for full specification. You can find more photos, enhanced specification, Service history, Log book and the HPI certificate on our web site. For a no obligation test drive, finance quote or part-exchange valuation call us today. This car has been inspected by trained technicians and passed a multi-point inspection. For a hassle, haggle free buying experience and drive away the same day visit Big Motoring World today.Award winning Big Motoring World stocks up to 2,000 BMW, Mercedes, Audi and VW cars

    • Mileage: 35985 mi
    • Engine size: 1997
    For sale
  • BMW Z4

    £16,995 £16,995

    Bluetooth, Climate Control, Full Leather, Alarm, Central Locking, Immobiliser, Locking Wheel Nuts, Remote Alarm, Remote Central Locking, Front Centre Armrest, Heated Seats, Height Adjustable Seat, Sports Seats, Adjustable Steering Column, Cruise Control, Multi-function Steering Wheel, Parking Sensors, Power Steering, Stability Control, Traction Control, Trip Computer, ABS, Air Bag, Colour Coded Body, Front Fog Lamps, Electric retractable hard top, Electric Mirrors, Electric Windows, CD Player, Aux point, DAB radio, 19'' Alloys

    • Mileage: 11560 mi
    • Engine size: 1997
    For sale
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